He sacrificed his life for his students. Chris Hixon was among the 17 people killed February's school shooting in Parkland Florida. Now his sister Natalie who is a teacher in Bedford is honoring his heroism and his life. Natalie took part in a stair climb in the World Trade Center for her brother. It was on Chris's bucket list and this was her way of making that happen for Chris and his family.
Natalie says when they were kids growing up in Pennsylvania, she and Chris would go to New York all the time, "We used to go to the city for field trips as kids, like that was our field trip."
So a couple of years ago, they were talking about the run that took racers up the 102 flight of stairs of the new World Trade Center. The race honors 9-11 NY Firefighter Capt. Billy Burke who died trying to rescue a wheelchair bound person from the collapsing towers. A hero's death, not unlike Chris's death. "I stopped on Floor 86 because that was the year he graduated," says Natalie.
Chris Hixon was a coach and athletic director at Parkland. He was retired from the Navy and one of the first to try and stop the shooter at Parkland that day. "My brother didn't hesitate, my brother went right into the building," says Natalie. Chris came face to face with the shooter and took 3 fatal shots to the chest.
Natalie says her family continues to grieve for Chris's loss by doing these kinds of events to honor him. Yet she remains frustrated, "It's sadly almost becoming the norm, well this is the norm to American society that school shooting well just another one is how I'm feeling," says Natalie.
Natalie says the difference now is that these students and parents and families like hers who've lost loved ones aren't stopping until they're heard. "They not just trying to put a blind side to it or put it back under the rug and put the rug over it. The Parkland students have lifted that carpet up and be like listen, we're not taking it anymore."